Rocky Horror comes to Conexus

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The best film starring Meatloaf. 20th Century Fox

Sterling Productions does the timewarp again.

Sterling Productions began in 2014 with their first production of The Rocky Horror Show. Over the past five years they’ve put on a variety of shows but have stayed loyal to their roots by putting on unique versions of Rocky Horror each fall. This year they spiced it up with a rave theme that was pulled off beautifully by both cast and crew.

The show opened with the oh-so-charming Narrator, Zak Neilson, masterfully drawing both cheers and heckles in rapid succession. The Narrator’s task in the Rocky Horror Show is to prepare the audience for the many interactive aspects the live show is built around. Whether that be yelling “Asshole!” at the mention of Brad’s name, spraying water during a scene with stormy weather, or shouting well-timed heckles, the narrator-led audience participation is vital to the success of the show. I had the pleasure of attending the Oct. 25 show, and am proud to say the crowd’s involvement was passionate both verbally and choreographically with many individuals littering the isles to dance “The Time Warp” right alongside the cast members.

One of my favourite aspects of Sterling Productions’ performance was the live band they had playing each song. They were hidden tastefully within the stage and could be spotted between the performers during the musical numbers. Scott Peters, the musical director, popped their head out from the pit mid-show during one of Neilson’s monologues for some playful banter, showing clearly how comfortable and natural the relationships between directors and performers were in this show.

Despite the choice to use a rave-theme, Sterling Productions stayed true to the original score musically, and used costumes as a way to communicate the theme. There was the perfect amount of costume variety without it being too busy or having the theme lost. All chorus members were decked out in contrasting black and neon, with makeup and hair done to match the specific neon colour of each member’s garb in a monochromatic style that built to a beautiful rainbow on stage. The leads were also dressed in rave-style costumes: everything from sequins to holographic patterns, tutus to garters, and leather to feathers.

The leads in this show positively blew me away. The chemistry between Brad (Joshua Stewart) and Janet (Amy Couzens) was wonderfully composed, and the way their naivety slowly gave way to corruption was beautifully shown. Trixie (Dian Dela Santa) stood out as well, belting out “Science Fiction Double Feature” with such power I’m sure even the bar workers in the foyer could hear every word. Frank ‘N’ Furter (Ryan Ramsay) gave a performance for the books, mixing a Jafar-like deviance with a Wonka-like whimsy. Ramsay hit every note without missing a beat, pranced in heels higher than the notes they hit, and artfully embodied beauty and grace in a way that had everyone questioning their sexualities.

he highlight of the show for many, myself included, was the performance given by Riff Raff (Nathan Labatt) and Magenta (Chloe Flota). The moment Labatt started singing was the moment I really sat up and gave the show my full attention – that sweetheart has pipes! Their companionship and scheming back and forth was so genuine, and even when the scene’s focus wasn’t on them they never once dropped character.

Sterling Productions undoubtedly wowed with this year’s performance of The Rocky Horror Show, and I cannot wait to see what show-stopping ideas they’ll pull from their sleeves in the years to come.

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